Daily Archives: June 11, 2007

Wall St. Journal: Bush’s treaty abrogations coming home to roost



President Bush’s penchant for rejecting international accords may be coming home to roost.

During last week’s summit of leading nations, Mr. Bush agreed to study a proposal from Russian President Vladimir Putin to construct jointly a defense shield against missile strikes. Mr. Bush also pledged to “seriously consider” a German plan to cut global emissions of greenhouse gases in half by 2050.

While Mr. Bush opened the door to a new level of international cooperation in both cases, his potential allies are wary because of the administration’s history with international agreements on the same subjects. Their skepticism also threatens to isolate the U.S. as it pursues other priorities on Washington’s agenda, such as curbing Iran’s nuclear program and pressuring the Hamas-run Palestinian government to renounce violence and recognize Israel.

Over the past six years, foreign leaders largely held their tongues when Washington discarded such treaties. But with anti-American sentiments rising globally, Mr. Putin and others are no longer keeping their frustrations to themselves.

“There’s a cumulative sense abroad that the U.S….turned its back on one multilateral pact after another,” said Charles Kupchan, a senior fellow at the Council on Foreign Relations. “That means foreign governments simply aren’t inclined to work with the U.S. the way they used to in the past. They say, ‘Why should we help?’ “

Countries such as Germany and Britain will be looking for evidence in coming months that the Bush administration is serious about seeking multilateral deals on thorny issues. One test will be Iran, where Washington has been working with the U.N. and close European allies on a diplomatic solution to the country’s nuclear program. Mr. Bush has encountered pressure from many Republican lawmakers to take a harder line against Tehran, possibly including military action, and foreign governments are unsure of how firmly committed Mr. Bush is to the diplomatic track.

American allies, especially in Europe, also will be watching for how seriously the Bush administration pursues its proposal to convene meetings of the world’s 15 top greenhouse-gas producers as part of an effort to develop nonbinding goals for reducing global warming.

Many of the agreements the administration discarded over the past six years were largely unknown among Americans. As a result, said 17-year State Department veteran Price Floyd, “none of those treaties made much of a ripple in the U.S., and there was no blowback in America. But overseas, people noticed.”

Mr. Floyd said he resigned earlier this year after tiring of trying to persuade other public-affairs officials that the source of American unpopularity is its actions, not its words. He said senior State Department officials did more than 3,200 interviews with foreign journalists over the past six years as part of a campaign to sell American foreign policy to overseas audiences. Many of the questions concerned U.S. opposition to treaties such as Kyoto or the agreement creating an International Criminal Court for war-crimes trials, he said.

But the more American officials took to the airwaves to defend administration stances, the more unpopular the U.S. became around the world, he said.

“We don’t have a marketing problem — it’s the product,” said Mr. Floyd, who now works for the Center for a New American Security, a Washington think tank. “Our actions and our words don’t match up.” Mr. Bush and his aides acknowledge that the U.S. is less popular than it once was. They attribute this concern overseas to moves such as the invasion of Iraq, which the administration sees as vital to American security.



National Security Adviser Stephen Hadley told reporters recently that the initial U.S. push to withdraw from the ABM treaty — which was widely covered in Russian media — “was an area of disagreement” with Russia. “But we were able to talk that through and get [Russia] behind it.”

But many Russia experts say Mr. Putin’s anger over the U.S. abandonment of the ABM treaty — along with other moves, such as its effort to place missile interceptors in Poland and elsewhere — continues to grow. “There is an accumulation of perceived slights that make Russians think their security interests are being disregarded,” said Dimitri Simes, president of the Nixon Center, a think tank in Washington.

During a recent visit to Russia, Mr. Simes said he was stunned by the intensity of anti-American sentiment he heard from senior officials, who saw U.S. military dominance as a growing threat.

Mr. Simes said anti-American feelings have been building for years. “It took awhile, but you’re finally seeing the response,” he said.





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Filed under Bill Kristol: is he smarter than you?, Condoleezza Rice: tell me again, what is her job?, Dick Cheney: Hannibal Lector in disguise?, Fred Kagan:an idiot running a war, George W. Bush: is he really THAT bad?, Iran, Iraq, Middle East, Mitt Romney: double guantanamo, Politics

Fourth Circuit makes EXTREMELY important ruling on habeas corpus

Marty Lederman:

…more than four years ago military authorities seized an alien lawfully residing here. He has been held by the military ever since — without criminal charge or process. He has been so held despite the fact that he was initially taken from his home in Peoria, Illinois by civilian authorities, and indicted for purported domestic crimes. He has been so held although the Government has never alleged that he is a member of any nation’s military, has fought alongside any nation’s armed forces, or has borne arms against the United States anywhere in the world. And he has been so held, without acknowledgment of the protection afforded by the Constitution, solely because the Executive believes that his military detention is proper.

Judge Motz:

To sanction such presidential authority to order the military to seize and indefinitely detain civilians, even if the President calls them “enemy combatants,” would have disastrous consequences for the Constitution — and the country. For a court to uphold a claim to such extraordinary power would do more than render lifeless the Suspension Clause, the Due Process Clause, and the rights to criminal process in the Fourth, Fifth, Sixth, and Eighth Amendments; it would effectively undermine all of the freedoms guaranteed by the Constitution. It is that power — were a court to recognize it — that could lead all our laws “to go unexecuted, and the government itself to go to pieces.” We refuse to recognize a claim to power that would so alter the constitutional foundations of our Republic.

An important step towards reclaiming America from the crazies.

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Filed under Alberto Gonzales:boob or simpleton-you decide, Bill Kristol: is he smarter than you?, Dick Cheney: Hannibal Lector in disguise?, Fred Thompson: lost without a script, George W. Bush: is he really THAT bad?, Mitt Romney: double guantanamo, Politics, Rudy Giuliani: NYC doesn't even like him

Plan B: Arming the Sunnis

The surge has already failed, and has been abandoned, even by Fred Kagan, its principal architect. He still holds to the fraudulent “reduction in Shiite death squad killings,” but admits to “difficulties” with the rest of it.

But Fred and pals would have us forget the goals of the surge, forget about Baghdad and Iraq as a whole, and the region (Turkey, Palestine, Iran, Saudi Arabia) and, instead, look over there: it’s the ANBAR AWAKENING….much is being made of the Sunnis in al Anbar province fighting al Qaeda of Mesopotamia. In fact, the US is now arming Sunnis, as a reward, and purportedly to help in the struggle. Al Anbar/allying with Sunnis is now being touted as the next model/strategy. Petraeus’ September report will ignore the entire surge farce, and try to make the al Anbar model into some kind of major progress, worthy of continuing our presence in Iraq.

But al Qaeda is a relatively minor player in most of Iraq; Jeff Huber:

Al-Qaeda is a minor contributor to the violence in Iraq. Some 30 distinct groups now claim credit for attacks on U.S. and Iraqi government forces. The odds of al-Qaeda assuming “real power” in Iraq are slim to none. Steven Simon, a Middle East expert at the Council on Foreign Relations, says that the Bush administration’s warning about al-Qaeda and Iraq “serves mostly to buttress the administration’s claim that Iraq’s problems are the work of outsiders, and not the result of the administration’s mismanagement of the occupation and internal Iraqi factionalism.”

And of course, the constant referrals to al-Qaeda reinforce the subliminal implication that Saddam Hussein was connected to the 9/11 attacks.

So what will this focus on al-Qaeda in Iraq really accomplish? It might drive the Islamic group from the country, but if it does, we’ll still have the 29 something other anti-U.S., anti-Iraqi government militant groups to deal with.

The major struggle is between Sunnis and Shiites. For a year now, the Bush administration has been trying to get Sunnis to lay down their arms, and join the government. Unfortunately, it seems unlikely that the constitution is going to be amended by the Shiites and Kurds, in order to allow this to happen.

We are really just providing more arms for both sides on the civil war in Iraq. The US, regardless of the good intentions of our troops, is a negative influence in Iraq and will continue to be. We may have created a huge mess, but that doesn’t mean we can fix it.  Our troops are already being betrayed and killed by member of the Iraqi army.  Arming the Sunnis is eventually going to lead to more US casualties, inflicted by the weapons we provided.

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Filed under Bill Kristol: is he smarter than you?, Dick Cheney: Hannibal Lector in disguise?, Fred Kagan:an idiot running a war, George W. Bush: is he really THAT bad?, Iraq, Karl Rove:Bush's brain or Bush's as'hole?, Middle East, Politics

The Sopranos: the evil continues, witnesses (us) get whacked.

There is no end. The Family unites, and goes on living its life, with the various threads working, but it is the viewer who gets whacked.

Those who have speculated that the blackout signified the “whacking” of Tony or the entire Soprano family are wrong. That sort of first person experience has really not been a significant narrative method in the series. Had Chase meant to convey that, he would have shown the last scene through Tony’s eyes. Instead, Tony puts his hand on the juke box, which is playing Journey “…don’t stop…” (it actually looked like he was gonna play “I’ve Gotta Be Me.”)

The family goes on as before, clearly all ensconced in mob activities forever. The oldest generation is now gone, Uncle Junior, and the new generation (Meadow and AJ) is on track, though a few years from active participation. Tony seems to be at higher risk for arrest, but his strategy will obviously be, as always, to whack the rat Carlo. In a sense, the camera has been a rat also, witnessing and recording Tony’s crimes; so the camera gets whacked.

Janis and Tony are on the same page they always have been, it’s all about Janis’ schemes for making money, and Tony’s resentment of her for it. Tony remains fixated on his mother.

The viewer is taken out of the picture, that’s all that changes.

It is really a clever ending. The only issue I would take with it is that it was impossible to appreciate at the moment it happened. Whether there was any way to circumvent that, I don’t know.

Quip of the week: “The state can crush the individual,” says Meadow, justifying her decision to become a criminal lawyer; but the mob is about to crush Phil, literally. Of course, the FBI chimed with “Phil Leotardo got popped.” Literally.

“The industry is preoccupied with quality and talent,” says the TeeVee at Tony’s gangs’ safe house. Chase certainly provided it, in the Sopranos.

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Filed under entertainment, The Sopranos, US Attorneys